The proposed site for the longhouse is inside the Sehome Hill Arboretum, adjacent to campus, in a natural setting on ancestral lands. The longhouse will be a place for healing—not only for Native Americans who continue to navigate the grief of intergenerational trauma—but also for our entire community. The longhouse will be a place to bring people together in reflection and education in a spirit of collective healing
The inclusion of the spaces and functions of a longhouse will help foster cultural awareness and honor the history of Native Americans as the first people to inhabit this land. Native American students often experience a sense of isolation on college campuses and this isolation contributes to low enrollments and retention challenges of Native American students. The longhouse will be a familiar and welcoming place for Native American students, helping to ensure their success at Western. When the longhouse is complete, Western expects this addition will increase the enrollment of Native American students by 10 percent.
Western’s longhouse will fill a long-standing void on campus. As a unique identity-conscious facility, it will promote cultural sovereignty and a sense of place and belonging for Native American students, faculty, and staff. By creating a longhouse, Western expects the full-time enrollments for Native American students to increase, including in the high-demand fields of science, engineering, and computer science. The longhouse will include a gathering hall, a teaching and warming kitchen, and areas for reflection and small group learning. The outdoor spaces will include gathering areas, a cooking space, and educational gardens with native plantings used in teaching and preserving traditional knowledge. The longhouse will invite celebration of Coast Salish culture and be a place to honor traditions and people.
With the endorsement of 40th Legislative District Representative Debra Lekanoff, the Washington State Legislature provided $4.5 million toward the $5 million anticipated cost of construction. Which is why we need your support to help raise the final half million to begin construction! Please make your gift today and add to Western's growing legacy of inclusive success and cultural campus innovation.